Stepping up: Recognizing Volunteerism at the Karla Harris Dinner


Last night, we held the Karla Harris Dinner — our  annual celebration of our city board and commission members and others who give of their time and talents every day to make South Milwaukee a better place.

About 150 people attended this truly special event at the Grobschmidt Senior Center.

We were especially honored to celebrate the longstanding service of two of our board and commission members: Matt Glaske (Water/Wastewater Commission) and Bernice Czarnezki (Board of Appeals/Old Fashioned Christmas).

Combined, they have logged more than 80 years service to the city.

As I said in my remarks …

We could not do any of this without you. Your volunteer spirit is inspiring … and you all make me so excited for the promising future of this great city.

I’m proud to be your mayor. We have so much going for us, and it starts with all of you in this room. When we talk about our promising future, it’s built with people like you all here tonight. Sure, we have work to do. But we are doing it, and we will do it, with your support.

Indeed, it’s all about people. People like Karla.

Also from my remarks …

As you may know, Karla passed away last November after a courageous battle with brain cancer. I have never seen someone so focused on helping others. Karla was tireless in her work to make her community, and world, a better place.

She did so … as a director for Lions International, building on more than two decades as a South Milwaukee Lion. As president of the South Milwaukee Police and Fire Commission. As executive director of the South Milwaukee Community Center. As volunteer coordinator for the American Red Cross and Women’s Center. As a member of the boards of the South Milwaukee Performing Arts Center, Wisconsin Make-a-Wish, the UW-Milwaukee School of Education, AFS International, and others.

And she did all of this in addition to her professional career in nonprofits.

Yes, Karla was a truly amazing woman, one who left an indelible mark and legacy on this city, and me. She was, and is, an inspiration, and she will be missed deeply.

In other words, she’s a perfect choice to be the namesake of this event.

1 Comment

Filed under South Milwaukee

One response to “Stepping up: Recognizing Volunteerism at the Karla Harris Dinner

  1. RocketMom

    I was extremely lucky and blessed, to have known Karla Harris. To have Karla at my fingertips when I needed to brainstorm leadership and volunteer mechanics, and was a fantastic cheerleader for all things South Milwaukee. This is a wonderful tribute, to a wonderful woman. She continues to be missed by many.

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